Moving on to the next two chapters of our Blogging Through the Bible, we look at some more of the amazing stories from the Bible. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that these things really happened! But they are there for a reason. Today we find out some more amazing facts surrounding Elijah’s predecessor, Elisha.
In Case You Missed It
I covered the first two chapters of 2 Kings HERE.
Angela wrote on 2 Kings Chapters 3 & 4 HERE.
Then, you can find Tammy’s exposition on Chapters 5 & 6 HERE.
Here, Elisha prophesies, in the midst of a famine, that a measure of fine flour would be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in Samaria’s gate. It’s important to remember that, prior to this, food had been so expensive people were simply starving. Even resorting to cannibalism.
Just outside the city, four lepers sat and pondered the “what-if’s” of their situation. The finally decided, no matter what they did, that they were going to die. If they sat outside, they would die with nothing. If they went inside the city, they might still be killed, but at least they would have a chance.
Dead to Sin, Life in Christ
Just like the lepers, everyone who is outside the realm of repentance and salvation is lost and dying. Sin brings death, simply stated, but Jesus offers life, and life more abundantly at that!
When the lepers entered the city and found the Syrians had fled their tents, they suddenly realized that they had access to “more” than enough!
And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and his it, and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it. (2 Kings 7:8)
In much the same way, according to Ephesians 2:7 and Romans 11:33, when we repent and turn to Jesus and His saving grace, we then have access to “exceeding riches, both of wisdom and knowledge…” and sustenance that breaks any famine!
The lepers not only ate and drank to their heart’s content, but they packed out silver, gold, and plenty of clothes. They had it all, even in their disease.
Elijah’s Word Comes True
After it was all said and done, the lepers informed the king of the state of the Syrian camp and it was completely spoiled. At first, the king was suspicious, thinking it was a trap. But when they found out it wasn’t, they all went into the Syrian tents.
It was then, that Elisha’s words finally came true. A measure of fine flour for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, just as the Lord had said.
Chapter 8 of 2 Kings, can actually be thought of as the sequel to the story of the Shunamite woman. This is the same woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life, so when he spoke, it only makes sense that she would do as he had said. When he told her to go, with her family, into the land of the Philistines, she did it.
At the end of the time that she was supposed to have stayed there, she came out and decided to go to the king and ask for all her things back. As it should so happen, prior to that, the king had asked Elisha’s servant about all the things Elijah had done. At the same time Gehazi, the servant, was telling the king about Elisha bringing a woman’s son back from death, that very woman walked in.
Gehazi announced her and her son and when the king heard it all, he appointed an officer over her telling him to give her back everything that had belonged to her. He even made them pay her back all the fruits of her field, since the time she left.
Isn’t that just like God?
The Sick King and the Wicked Hazael
When King Benhadad became sick, he sent one of the high officials in his court, Hazael, to get a word from the prophet Elisha. He sent gifts and when Hazael asked about the King’s health, Elisha said that yes, he would recover.
However, at the same time, God showed him also that the king would actually die, though not of the sickness. He stared at Hazaeh, seeing the great evil that this man would do, and started crying. When Hazael asked why, he minced no words. He told him he knew that he would burn the strongholds of Israel, kill the young men and children, and even pregnant women.
Hazael did not care for Elisha’s words and went back and told the king that he would recover. But the next day, he smothered the king to death and became king in his place.
Two Kings of Judah
The story is told next, of two of Judah’s kings, Jehoram (also called Joram… confusing, but remember this is the same person), and Ahaziah.
Both were wicked, and both walked in evil in the sight of God. The moral of the story is that both kings fight against Hazael. After Joram gets wounded in battle, Ahaziah goes to visit him during recovery. And that is where this chapter draws to a close.
I just love the story of the lepers, as odd as that sounds, in Chapter 7. It reminds me so much of how we are all dead in our sins, just as they would have been, no matter what, sitting outside the city. Then, when they came in, half expecting to be killed anyway, they instead were welcomed with amazing provision, the likes of which they would never have known if they hadn’t decided to get up and walk into it.
How much like that are we? Is there something you’re supposed to be walking into that you haven’t done yet?
Then in chapter 8, we see the wickedness of Hazael and his murderous ways with the king. Do you think that Elijah’s prophesy that Hazael was next in line to be king hastened his desire to get there, driving him to murder the king that very next day? That thought certainly crossed my mind!
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to see what these Old Testament stories mean to us, and how they can serve us in the here and now. Let us remember, first of all, that our sustenance comes from You and You alone. Also, remind us that no matter who is in power, that we should always pray for those in authority, whether good or evil. We know you set them up and you cast them down, and we pray that Your great Hand of mercy keeps us no matter what. We ask it in Jesus Name, Amen!